QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE TUGENDHAT
| EDGARAS MIKLIS
|- and -
|THE DEPUTY PROSECUTROR GENERAL OF LITHUANIA
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Brian Gibbins (instructed by the CPS) for the Respondent
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Lord Justice Latham:
"The evidence given by him is not up to the appropriate standard i.e. on the balance of probabilities, that he would be in danger if returned, nor (sic) kept in inappropriate conditions."
- "There is considerable and reliable evidence of ill-treatment by police and abuse, often at the point of arrest and transfer which is consistent with the defendant's witness statement;
- There is considerable and reliable evidence of police brutality. The nature of injuries sustained by the defendant are consistent with these reports of police brutality.
- There is considerable evidence of corruption and bribery in the police force that is consistent with the defendant's witness statement;
- Prison conditions have been described by human rights monitors as poor and "life threatening". The increase in numbers on overcrowded populations and the rise of incidents of prisoners self harming is especially worrying;
- The current provisions for prisoners requiring mental health treatment is poor and has been linked to increased rates of suicide within Lithuanian prisons;
- The quality of provision for detainees and prisoners who require psychiatric care has been described by the Council of Europe's Committee on the Prevention of Torture as anti-therapeutic, inadequate and the source of serious concern;
- The defendant's mental and emotional state would be at risk if he were returned to Lithuania and housed in either a prison or mental health institution within a prison."
"7.2 There are two important issues regarding the potential return of the appellant to Lithuania.
7.3. First, while the CPT (the Council of Europe's European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in a report based upon a visit in 2004) has noted few instances of deliberate ill-treatment to convicted defendants, there are multiple instances of police abuse at the point of arrest and pre-trial which could apply, especially if his transfer were under police guard. Guarantees would need to be provided that the defendant is not at risk of potential abuse by police or prison staff in advance of a trial hearing – this is especially important given the nature of his complaint.
7.4. There is a second concern that should be raised concerning the defendant's fragile mental state and above all his history of suicide. The current provisions in Lithuania for institutional treatment, whether it is outside the prison system or in one of the prison hospitals, have been described by international monitors as sub-standard and detrimental to the well being of vulnerable individuals. In recognition of the appalling material conditions of both the general prison level and in the prison hospitals, there is a real possibility of the defendant suffering further damage to his mental state and possibly attempting suicide once again.
8.1 This report introduces two essential claims in the case of Edgaras Miklis –v- Deputy Prosecutor of Lithuania first there is the considerable evidence of police brutality, as established by authorative monitoring bodies such as the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, US State Department and Human Rights Monitoring Institute.
8.2 Second, there is also good reason to presume that should the defendant be returned to Lithuania, he would not receive suitable mental health care in either a dedicated institution or a prison hospital. The universal accusations of overcrowding and the strong statements included in the CPT and State Department reports suggest that the anti-therapeutic environment, the poor facilities and the lack of adequate provision would further damage the defendant's fragile mental state."
"12. As was the case during the 2000 visit, the delegation received many allegations of ill-treatment of persons – including minors – deprived of their liberty by the police. The allegations heard related mainly to the time of apprehension and to the period surrounding the investigation by the police; certain persons alleged ill-treatment during transport by the Convoy Division. The forms of ill-treatment alleged consisted of mostly of blows with hands or fists, with objects such as batons or belts. In several cases the alleged ill-treatment – asphyxiation by placing a gas mask or a plastic bag over the persons face, severe beating, infliction of electric shocks and mock execution - could be considered to be torture.
In a number of cases, the delegation was able to verify that the person concerned had been held in police establishments during the period to which the ill-treatment in question could be ascribed; moreover certain of them provided accurate descriptions of the offices where they claim it had taken place. Further, medical records reveal that upon their admission to police or police detention centre numerous persons had displayed injuries consistent with their allegations of ill-treatment."
Mr Justice Tugendhat: I agree.